POSTED: Wednesday, January 30, 2013 - 2:15pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, January 30, 2013 - 2:19pm
TANGIPAHOA PARISH, LA — Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff Daniel Edwards has announced his department’s participation with the Human Trafficking Task Force to combat these issues during Super Bowl XLVII, which is held this year in New Orleans.
The Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office is joining forces with the United States Justice Department, Louisiana State Attorney General’s Office, FBI, The New Orleans Police Department, Department of Health and Hospitals , U.S. Homeland Security, numerous law enforcement agencies and social service entities across the Southeastern portion of the State of Louisiana.
The 2013 Super Bowl, set to be held in New Orleans, will present the maximum opportunity for an increase in criminal statistics . The City is preparing to meet these challenges and has been proactive in taking the necessary steps to combat the upcoming surge in illicit activities such as prostitution and human trafficking.
Two years ago, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children estimated that 10,000 prostitutes were brought to the Super Bowl in Miami. In 2011, more than 1,000 young people were arrested for prostitution in Dallas during Super Bowl weekend. It is expected this number will rise to epidemic proportions during the 2013 Super Bowl in New Orleans.
It is imperative the outlying parishes support the city’s efforts and initiate strong steps to curtail and enforce such illicit activities and in particular the activities involving human trafficking. Law enforcement officials throughout the country have been experiencing human trafficking and related activities in epidemic proportions and this problem is expected to ascend to maximum intensity particularly during conventions, sports events and any and all events attracting out of town visitors.
Each prior Super Bowl event has had to prepare and take the necessary actions to handle the increase of such activities.
Parishes such as Jefferson, St. John, St. Charles, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Baton Rouge and East Baton Rouge are close enough in proximity to have their hotels/motels utilized as base sites for their grouping. Truck stops, restaurants, nail salons and retail businesses would be the logical places to service their needs. Therefore in order to support the law enforcement agencies and the task force of which these Parishes have joined together in cooperation to tackle human trafficking; Sheriff Edwards has requested assistance from local businesses and members of the community.
The Sheriff’s Office is asking for the community to be alert and report suspicious activities around hotels, motels, truck stops, nail salons, rest stops, local businesses and outside schools. These individuals usually travel in numbers, book blocks of hotel rooms. The perpetrators pose as potential boyfriends to solicit young victims so be aware of an older person approaching younger pre-teen, teen individuals.
Many of these young prostitutes involved are victims tricked into this situation, then held against their will. Law enforcement agencies and social services are prepared to handle these cases as such with counseling, the ability to return home or whatever action is deemed best for these young children. Covenant House and The Salvation Army are already set up to house and offer services to both juvenile and adult victims.
Some other signs for recognizing those individuals involved in human trafficking are:
Common Work and Living Conditions: The Individual(s) in Question…
• Is not free to leave or come and go as he/she wishes
• Is under 18 and is providing commercial sex acts
• Is in the commercial sex industry and has a pimp / manager
• Is unpaid, paid very little, or paid only through tips
• Works excessively long and/or unusual hours
• Is not allowed breaks or suffers under unusual restrictions at work
• Owes a large debt and is unable to pay it off
• Was recruited through false promises concerning the nature and conditions of his/her work
• High security measures exist in the work and/or living locations (e.g. opaque windows, boarded up windows, bars on windows, barbed wire, security cameras, etc.)
Poor Mental Health or Abnormal Behavoir
• Is fearful, anxious, depressed, submissive, tense, or nervous/paranoid
• Exhibits unusually fearful or anxious behaviour after bringing up law enforcement
• Avoids eye contact
Poor Physical Health
• Lacks health care
• Appears malnourished
• Shows signs of physical and/or sexual abuse, physical restraint, confinement,
• or torture
Lack of Control
• Has few or no personal possessions
• Is not in control of his/her own money, no financial records, or bank account
• Is not in control of his/her own identification documents (ID or passport)
• Is not allowed or able to speak for themselves
• (a third party may insist on being present and/or translating)
• Claims of just visiting and inability to clarify where he/she is staying/address
• Lack of knowledge of whereabouts and/or do not know what city he/she is in
• Loss of sense of time
• Have numerous inconsistencies in his/her story.
TPSO Deputies will be proactive in patrolling and monitoring all the potential locations for any illicit activities during this crucial time . Sheriff Edwards has requested, anyone suspecting human trafficking or suspicious activities to contact the sheriff’s office at 985.345.6150. For any other questions or reporting these activities contact the National Human Trafficking Resource Center. 1-888-3737-888